A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know The Walking Dead: The Final Season is a third-person narrative adventure for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. The game is set during a zombie apocalypse, with scenes of intense violence and lots of strong language. Players control a teenager named Clementine who, along with a young boy she's looking after, take refuge in a dilapidated private school where only a handful of kids and no adults remain. Clementine is a good kid and tries to show the boy how to survive in a terrifying world, but makes some questionable decisions, such as arming him with a gun. Players make many of Clementine's choices for her, but often there's no right answer or "good" outcome, suggesting that no-win situations are an unavoidable part of life that must be accepted. Violence is frequent and gory, with knives repeatedly jabbed into the skulls of the living dead. One scene involves an extended and graphic bludgeoning of a recently zombified teen friend, while another sees one kid shoot another in the head. Many of the kids frequently use very strong language, including "f--k."
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What's it about?
THE WALKING DEAD: THE FINAL SEASON begins with series star Clementine -- now a teenager -- and her young charge AJ starving and scavenging for food. The pair meet up with a group of fellow kids who have taken refuge behind the walls of a dilapidated private school. They quickly become members of the group, meeting and getting to know their new peers. Like earlier entries in the series, the story revolves around making hard decisions, and this time most have to do with Clem showing AJ how to behave and survive in a world full of undead and untrustworthy strangers. Players are given choices in dialogue that can determine how other characters see and deal with Clementine, and even who lives and who dies. Outside dialogue, players move Clementine around environments looking for supplies and collectibles or fighting enemies. Combat, as usual, is performed by following cues to tap specific buttons or move in a certain direction. Episodes lasts a couple of hours each, and typically end with a narrative cliffhanger.
Is it any good?
What will become of those who inherit a world of undead? That's the question The Walking Dead: The Final Season sets out to answer by setting the action among a group of kids at an old boarding school, creating a bit of a Lord of the Flies vibe along the way. Without parents or adults around, these kids must govern themselves and make lots of hard choices without any guidance. Clementine, meanwhile, has come full circle. She began the series as a very young girl who learned how to survive from a stranger who adopted her, and now that she's a bit older, she's filling the role of mentor to an adopted kid of her own. Seeing her struggle to serve as a good role model for AJ, equipping him mentally and emotionally for the horrifying world in which he lives, is fascinating. And watching her do it among a group of peers who have had to fend for themselves -- and perhaps not as successfully as she -- makes us respect her all the more. It's a great way to tell the final chapter of her story.
And Walking Dead has never looked better. Visual details -- including realistic hair and clothing movement, improved shadowy areas, and authentic lighting effects -- easily set this final series of episodes apart from its predecessors. What's more, the series' tried and true adventure-style play mechanics, while more or less unchanged at their core, have been gently updated for this final series. Movement feels a bit more fluid and intuitive, and there's more to see and find in world exploration. Clem can even display the stuff she discovers in her and AJ's dorm room. And at the end of each episode, we're provided more information about our progress than ever before via a more extensive review of our choices, including Clem's current standing with all of the kids in her new group. The Walking Dead: The Final Season may feel familiar, but it's also bold and gratifying in unexpected ways -- a strong send-off for one of the most empathetic and lovable characters in modern games.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. How is the impact of violence in The Walking Dead: The Final Season affected when the people committing the violence are kids instead of adults? Does it matter that you're destroying monsters instead of other people?
When some problems have no good solution, but instead options that are just different degrees of bad, how do you make this decision? Have you had to handle this kind of problem, and if so, how did you deal with it afterward?
- Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Telltale Games
- Release date: August 14, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.